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Economic Contextual Factors and Child Body Mass Index

In: Economic Aspects of Obesity

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  • Lisa M. Powell
  • Frank J. Chaloupka

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between child weight and fast food and fruit and vegetable prices and the availability of fast food restaurants, full-service restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores. We estimate cross-sectional and individual-level fixed effects (FE) models to account for unobserved individual-level heterogeneity. Data are drawn from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics combined with external food price and outlet density data at the zip code level. FE results show that higher fruit and vegetable prices are statistically significantly related to a higher body mass index (BMI) percentile ranking among children with greater effects among low-income children: fruit and vegetable price elasticity for BMI is estimated to be 0.25 for the full sample and 0.60 among low-income children. Fast food prices are statistically significantly related to child weight only in cross-sectional models among low-income children with a price elasticity of -0.77. Increased supermarket availability and fewer available convenience stores are related with lower weight outcomes among low-income children. These results provide evidence on the potential effectiveness of using fiscal pricing interventions such as taxes and subsidies and other interventions to improve supermarket access as policy instruments to address childhood obesity.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lisa M. Powell & Frank J. Chaloupka, 2011. "Economic Contextual Factors and Child Body Mass Index," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 127-144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11818
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    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    2. Powell, Lisa M. & Bao, Yanjun, 2009. "Food prices, access to food outlets and child weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 64-72, March.
    3. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
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    5. Beydoun, May A. & Powell, Lisa M. & Wang, Youfa, 2008. "The association of fast food, fruit and vegetable prices with dietary intakes among US adults: Is there modification by family income?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2218-2229, June.
    6. Dragan Miljkovic & William Nganje, 2008. "Regional obesity determinants in the United States: a model of myopic addictive behavior in food consumption," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(3), pages 375-384, May.
    7. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    8. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
    9. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
    10. Oliveira, Victor & Frazao, Elizabeth, 2009. "The WIC Program: Background, Trends, and Economic Issues, 2009 Edition," Economic Research Report 55839, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    11. Moore, L.V. & Diez Roux, A.V., 2006. "Associations of neighborhood characteristics with the location and type of food stores," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 96(2), pages 325-331.
    12. Guthrie, Joanne F. & Frazao, Elizabeth & Andrews, Margaret S. & Smallwood, David M., 2007. "Improving Food Choices-Can Food Stamps Do More?," Amber Waves:The Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources, and Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, pages 1-7, May.
    13. Jacobson, M.F. & Brownell, K.D., 2000. "Small taxes on soft drinks and snack foods to promote health," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 90(6), pages 854-857.
    14. Powell, Lisa M., 2009. "Fast food costs and adolescent body mass index: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 963-970, September.
    15. Alan C. Monheit & Jessica P. Vistnes & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 2007. "Overweight in Adolescents: Implications for Health Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 13488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ver Ploeg, Michele & Wilde, Parke E., 2018. "How do food retail choices vary within and between food retail environments?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 300-308.
    2. Buttet, Sebastien & Dolar, Veronika, 2015. "The Price Of One Sweet Calorie," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 3(4), pages 1-14, October.
    3. Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm & Ye Zhang & David B. Estell & Neil H. Perdue, 2017. "Raising charitable children: the effects of verbal socialization and role-modeling on children’s giving," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 189-224, January.
    4. Powell, Lisa M. & Wada, Roy & Krauss, Ramona C. & Wang, Youfa, 2012. "Ethnic disparities in adolescent body mass index in the United States: The role of parental socioeconomic status and economic contextual factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 469-476.
    5. Ver Ploeg, Michele L. & Mancino, Lisa & Dicken, Christopher W. & Farrigan, Tracey L. & Hertz, Thomas, 2017. "An Analysis of Exposure to Poor Food Environments and Diet-Related Health Outcomes," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258218, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Guy E.J. Faulkner & Paul Grootendorst & Van Hai Nguyen & Tatiana Andreyeva & Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos & Chris Auld & Sean B. Cash & John Cawley & Peter Donnelly & Adam Drewnowski & Laurette Dubé & R, 2011. "Economic Instruments for Obesity Prevention: Results of a Scoping Review and Modified Delphi Survey," Monash Economics Working Papers 31-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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